No Audacity Output Heard When Zoom is Running

Windows 10
Audacity 2.4.2

We would like to both record and play audio clips during a Zoom meeting. We know that we can record during Zoom meeting, using Zoom capabilities. However, Zoom requires that the meeting be ended before it renders the recording in a playable format. We have another app (SCS - Show Cue Systems) that allows us to play clips, which are audible to all Zoom meeting attendees, and are included in the recorded sound for the entire meeting.

However, when running Audacity (while Zoom meeting is session) we get no audible output, regardless of driver and device selection. Audacity display shows output being played and recording going on - just no sound out.

Once Zoom is shut down, we can play the Audacity recordings that were made during the Zoom session.

There is something that SCS appears to be able to do, that Audacity is not doing. We did have some problems with SCS early on, and they were similar to the one that I’m trying to describe here - under certain circumstances, we would show an audio cue being played, but we would get no sound out. This was corrected, in SCS, by specifying two output devices (they were the same device, really (Sony headphones), but had different names).

The only differences we have found between the SCS app and Audacity that might be significant are:

  1. Both SCS and Zoom show up in the Windows Settings → Sound → Advanced Sound Options app list - Audacity is not included there.
    I see no way to get Audacity included in that list, nor do I know if that’s even the cause of our problem.

Ignore #1-- I see now that the Advanced Sound Options app list appears to be populated only after an app is running. Once I started Audacity, it then showed up in that list. However, unlike SCS, Windows does not give me the opportunity to set two output device specifications - only one. I tried setting the Audacity devices there to the same devices as shown for SCS, but to no avail. And no matter which device I choose, I get no audible output when both Zoom and Audacity were running.

  1. SCS allows the definition of two devices as output.

Any guidance you can give will be greatly appreciated!

It’s like I’m hearing an echo from about six hours ago. “I’m producing a movie in Los Angeles and half my team is in New Zealand. I need to be able to Zoom with all of them and at the same time show video clips of the edit so far, and live comment, and hear … etc.”

There is something that SCS appears to be able to do, that Audacity is not doing.

Audacity will not create new sound pathways and you only get one at a time. During the Zoom session or which ever other software you have, the playback pathway is being occupied by the conference. The instant those programs go away, the pathway is available for Audacity.

I’ll tell you what I told him. Nobody wrote you can’t have two different Zoom sessions running at the same time. One on this computer and one on another machine across the desk. You get collisions like this when you try to jam a million different tasks and pathways on one machine.


For example, if the complaint is you can’t hear, but the other people can, your second machine can be a “fake” Zoom subscriber with no microphone whose sole job is to drive your headphones.



One question: Is there no reason I couldn’t use the headphone mic on the secondary Zoom session as well? I want the Audacity-captured audio to include my voice, as well. And just drive the “real” Zoom on our customary laptop, along with SCS and Audacity? I’ll be trying this today, but want to make sure that what I think I’m going to do reflects your suggestion properly.

Is there no reason I couldn’t use the headphone mic on the secondary Zoom session as well?

Isn’t your voice part of the Zoom recording at Zoom?

Your original complaint was everything was OK and the Audacity recording was correct and perfect, but you simply couldn’t hear what was happening. The second Zoom session/machine lets you hear what’s happening.

Audacity can only record from one device or thing at a time. You can record the Zoom session (sometimes) or you can record your voice by itself. You can broaden that with software such as from the VB offerings, Voicemeeter, etc, a virtual mixer, but the instant you start messing with the sound pathways, Zoom will give you the wakeup call that it needs to perfectly manage sound at all times. Full Stop.

Zoom isn’t being evil. In order for it to work, it has to perform Echo Suppression, Noise Cancellation and Direction Gating, accurately and perfectly, on all the people in your conference, no matter which kind of machine they’re on and how they have it set up (or the quality of the internet connection).

I was on a conference/interview recently with four other people which went surprisingly (to me) well until one of the party’s smoke alarm sounded. It brought the conference to its knees. That’s how delicate these things are.

I don’t know that there is a simple solution. The Nashville process is the 7-foot long sound console with a multi-track recorder. Record all the parts individually and mix down later. The Hollywood solution is record everybody’s parts on different days and mix it all together later in Editorial.

Nobody has any good hands-on for this. If you do get it to work, post back how you did it.



These are Zoom group rehearsals of scenes recreating old time radio programs (such as Our Miss Brooks, e.g.). I serve as the Zoom meeting host. We have a pre-recorded set of sound effect cues (created and sequenced using SCS software) that are interjected at the appropriate time point during the rehearsal.

All that works well - I have BT Sony headphones w/mic, which I use during this process (I am also one of the “performers”). Everybody in the meeting can hear everything going on.

Yes, I can, and do, record the entire rehearsal session using Zoom. This works well, except for one aspect: the Zoom recordings are not really processed into a useable format until the meeting has been ended. Our wish would be to record a set of lines, and then immediately play them back for discussion and possible re-recording.

Somehow, SCS (using WASAPI or Direct Sound) is able to circumvent the difficulty you cite regarding paths. I was just hoping Audacity could, too.

I have started trying to implement the two-system workaround you suggested, using an iPad as a “fake” second unit - so far I have been unsuccessful. Probably because in this configuration I’m still attempting to run Audacity on same system as SCS/Zoom?

I will next try to set up a second PC, with Audacity and Zoom on it, but I’m not sure that will work either - I’ll still have an arrangement where Audacity and Zoom are butting heads - right?

I’ll still have an arrangement where Audacity and Zoom are butting heads - right?

Yes, that’s probable.

Every time one of these comes up I have to sit and stare at a cup of coffee for a while to build it in my head.

“Let’s see. The special effects are coming from here…”

That’s the same problem my movie friend has. “I need to be able to draw the pathways on a whiteboard and make sense of them.”

There may be a solution by building out your system in analog rather than digital. I did this once on a Skype experiment.

As we go.


Forget Audacity for a minute. Do you hear a theatrically perfect version of the show during the live performance?

Who’s doing the musical themes, interstitials, and bumpers? You?


Your headset is wireless, right?

Ignoring the technical problems for a second, anybody in the Zoom could play a flash rehearsal and the whole Zoom would hear it? Doesn’t have to be you.


There will be no “live performance” per se. We rehearse scenes. I record these, using Zoom. Then we choose the one that comes closest to the best we can do. Then I edit that file using Audacity, to remove unwanted pauses, crossfade some short sections, mix some sections - that sort of thing.

We will end up with 20-25 of these elements, which we’ll tack together with Audacity.

We just feel that if we could replay a recording as soon as it’s made, we might be able to boost our productivity - we can’t do that with Zoom recordings.

Audience laughter, music, “announcer” lines, commercials, are all inserted via SCS during the rehearsal itself. We none of us know what the hell we’re doing, so this whole thing is a voyage of discovery for us. We have discovered that it seems to be harder to bring off an audio-only performance, with actors separated and communication via Zoom only, than a typical little theater group stage presentation.

And yes - using Sony headphones with Bluetooth to laptop.

this whole thing is a voyage of discovery for us.

That’s good. Can I use that? Can you hear the music bed behind that? Three-masted schooner for visual.

As from a couple of messages ago, during the segment performance, when you can’t hear anything on the main Zoom, that’s when you listen to the second Zoom machine. Then, at the end of the segment, immediately stop Audacity (which you said has a good recording) and play it back for review.

Export as needed—and use WAV, not MP3. MP3 degenerates as you edit it.


And in that configuration, where are you suggesting that Audacity runneth? I’m thinking second (monitor) machine - right?

I’m thinking second (monitor) machine - right?

Nope. First machine. You said the only problem with the first machine was you couldn’t hear the mixed show being recorded, but everybody else in the Zoom could. The second machine is one of the “other people.” Now you can hear, too, because you’re two different people/Zooms.

Managing the headsets is up to you.

I have seen complex productions where The Director is wearing two different headsets, one mic on the left and one on the right.


You’re absolutely right: I just ran with Zoom, Audacity, and SCS running on laptop, and also attended the Zoom meeting on an iPad. Audacity successfully recorded audio I played in laptop from the SCS app, and I could hear it on the iPad. When I played the audio in Audacity, it was also audible on the iPad.

That leaves me, as you said, to find a way to manage headsets/headphones. As long as I don’t need to hear the recording playback, then we may be ok. And if, as a practical matter, that becomes necessary, I’ll have to devise a plan B of some sort.

Many, many thanks for sticking with me on this!

Many, many thanks for sticking with me on this!

I need to lie down for a while.